Ryazan is one of the oldest cities in Russia. It is mostly known for its historical sights, including the ancient Kremlin and churches. The streets of Ryazan have preserved the charming atmosphere of old times. Nowadays, it is a vivid city that successfully combines historical heritage with contemporary comfort.
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GENERAL INFO ABOUT RYAZAN
Ryazan is located in the western part of Russia, 200 km southeast of Moscow. The city is mostly known for the Ryazan Kremlin. It is a complex of historic churches, houses, and monasteries.
Population: 535 000 people
Time zone: GMT +3 (Moscow time)
Ryazan is a popular tourist destination for Russians. However, I have noticed that not so many foreigners visit this city. Let’s fill this gap and explore this ancient hidden gem — Ryazan.
Ryazan was founded in 1095, 52 years before Moscow. At present, Ryazan is a picturesque city with a rich history. Many beautiful historical buildings, including wooden ones, have been preserved.
You will surely want to start your visit at the main landmark of Ryazan — the Kremlin. The Kremlin is big — and you can easily spend there a whole day. Nevertheless, keep in mind that there many other interesting sights in the city: museums, monuments, parks, and pedestrian streets. If you like to walk, like me, you will find dozens of attractive locations and will take hundreds of photos.
The world-famous cosmetic brand ‘Max Factor’ has appeared in Ryazan. The founder of the company, Maximilian Faktorovich, opened the first store in 1895. He sold blush, creams, perfumes and wigs that he had invented himself. The business was going well.
In 1905, Maximilian Faktorovich emigrated to the United States. His company grew into a transnational corporation.
At present, you can see the house where Max Factor opened his first store. Ther is also a historical salon ‘The Aroma of Time’ that tells about the life and career of Max Factor.
Public transport. Ryazan has no metro but bus and trolleybus itineraries cover well all city’s districts. You can also use a taxi which is rather cheap in Ryazan (for instance, Yandex Taxi).
The climate in Ryazan is moderately continental. Summer is usually hot, with temperatures up to +40°C. Winters are moderately cold: the average temperature is -10-15°C. Sometimes temperatures drop to -40°C, but these cold periods do not last long.
I was in Ryazan on a sunny summer day. It was about +20°C. The centre of Ryazan is green, and there are many parks for resting in the shadows.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO VISIT RYAZAN?
If you like spending your time outside, the best season to visit is from April to September. At the end of April, trees are already green, and the city looks dressed up. As the weather is warm, staying outdoors seems comfortable.
In the summer, you can opt for a boat trip on the Oka River. It is a pleasant opportunity to see abundant Russian nature.
You will not be disappointed if you visit Ryazan in winter either. The city has many museums, exhibitions, theatres, etc., that suit every taste. So you may split your time between strolling in the streets and attending cultural events. When too frozen to continue your promenade, you can just hop in one of the cosy coffee shops or restaurants.
HOW TO GET OT RYAZAN
Ryazan has two railway stations: Ryazan 1 and Ryazan 2. While booking tickets, pay attention to which of the stations you arrive/ depart from! Ryazan has train connections with many Russian cities: Moscow, St Petersburg, Voronezh, Penza, Ufa and others.
Ryazan has no airport. The closest airport is Domodedovo (DME) in Moscow. It is 180 km away from Ryazan.
How to get to Ryazan from Moscow
• By train:
Trains to Ryazan depart from Kazansky Railway station. 6-7 suburban trains run between Moscow and Ryazan each day.
The fastest way to get to Ryazan is to take a high-speed suburban train. The road takes 2 hours 25 min. One-way ticket costs ~900 Rub (12 USD).
• By bus:
Buses to Ryazan depart daily from Moscow bus stations ‘Shchelkovskaya’, ‘Krasnogvardeyskaya’, ‘Kotelniki’, ‘Yuzhnye Vorota’. In Ryazan, buses leave and arrive at the Central bus station (31, Moscow Shosse). One-way ticket costs ~600 Rub (8USD).
In theory, a bus trip takes 3-4 hours. But traffic in Moscow and the Moscow Region is extensive, and you may waste your time in traffic jams. This is why I recommend you to get to Ryazan by train.
How to get to Ryazan from St Petersburg
The most comfortable way to get to Ryazan from St Petersburg is by train. The road takes 13 hours. Tickets prices vary a lot depending on the seat class. Opt for overnight trains: they depart from St Petersburg in the evening and arrive at Ryazan early in the morning. Thus, you will not spend precious day time on relocation from one city to another.
THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF RYAZAN
• Ryazan Kremlin
The Ryazan Kremlin is the main attraction of the city. You have surely heard of the Kremlin in Moscow. But the capital of Russia is not the only city to have a kremlin. There are also kremlins in Pskov, Novgorod the Great, Nizhny Novgorod and other ancient Russian cities.
So what is a kremlin?
The Kremlin is the fortified core of the historical Russian city, the central and most ancient part of it. As a rule, the Kremlin housed the prince’s palace, stone churches, the estates of the feudal nobility and craft workshops that served the princely court.
The Ryazan Kremlin is one of the oldest in Russia. It is the heart of the city. The Kremlin was founded in 1095. Back then, its walls were wooden. The first stone buildings appeared there in the XVth century.
On the territory of the Kremlin, you will see a whole constellation of historical sights:
— Glebov Bridge and Cathedral Bell Tower
As you walk along Glebov Bridge, look closely at the Cathedral Bell Tower. The construction of the Cathedral Bell Tower took 43 years (1797—1840). It is the tallest structure in the Kremlin. Its height is 82.5 meters. You can see the gilded spire of the tower from many districts of the city.
— Assumption Cathedral
Assumption Cathedral is the most impressive church in the Kremlin. It amazes with its size and intricate decoration. Pay attention to the white carved stone decoration on the walls. It is a striking example of 17th-century craftsmanship.
The cathedral was built in 1693-1699 by the serf-architect Yakov Bukhvostov. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, it lost its rich inner decorations. At present, visitors can only admire the unique 27-meter high ancient iconostasis.
— Nativity of Christ Cathedral
Nativity of Christ Cathedral is situated next to the Assumption cathedral. This yellow church with a green dome is one of the oldest buildings in the Ryazan region. It was founded in the 15th century.
The cathedral was rebuilt several times. At present, we see the cathedral as it was built in the 19th century.
Nativity of Christ Cathedral was the burial place of Ryazan princes. Nowadays, the cathedral houses relics of St. Basil of Ryazan, the first bishop and patron of the Ryazan land, and other Orthodox saints. You can enter the cathedral to admire its lavish interiors and ancient icons.
— The Palace of Oleg
Apart from old churches, you will find historical museums in the Kremlin of Ryazan. The largest exposition is displayed in the Palace of Oleg. Oleg was Grand Duke of Ryazan, a fearless warrior who fought with the Tatar-Mongols. He lived in the 14th century.
The contemporary palace was built on the site of the Ryazan Kremlin, where the prince’s court had been located until the 16th century. The Palace of Oleg is the former residential chambers of the Ryazan bishops; the building also housed their home church, brotherly cells and household services.
The Palace is a white stone building that looks like a terem from Russian fairy tales. Nowadays, the Palace houses the exhibition ‘From Rus’ to Russia’. There are many exhibits related to the history of the Ryazan region, from prehistoric times to Soviet times.
— Hotel of the Nobility, Hotel of the Rubble, Consistory Corps
On the territory of the Kremlin, you will also see other civil houses of the 17-19th centuries: Hotel of the Nobility, Hotel of the Rubble, Consistory Corps, etc. Each building houses a historical exposition. I opted for the exhibition ‘According to the Custom of Grandfathers’ in the Singer Corps. It tells about the everyday life and holidays of the Russian people. You will see traditional Russian gowns, old interiors and utensils, jewellery, toys and many other things that we do not have any more in our modern lives.
— Kremlin rampart
You may also want to climb to the Kremlin rampart. It is an ancient earthen rampart. The ancestors of the Ryazan people erected it to protect them from nomads. You will surely enjoy the picturesque view of the Kremlin, the bell tower, and the Spaso-Preobrazhensky monastery.
The entrance to the territory of the Kremlin in Ryazan is free. You can also visit churches for free. A ticket to a historical exposition costs about 400 Rub (6 USD). The expositions close on Mondays.
In the summer, you can opt for a boat trip on the Trubezh and Oka Rivers. The boats depart several times a day from the piers near the Kremlin. The trip lasts about 1 hour and costs 400 Rub. (~6USD).
• Cathedral Square And Cathedral Park
Cathedral Square (‘Sobornaya Square’ in Russian) is a square in the historical centre of Ryazan. In the middle of the square, you will see the monument to Prince Oleg Ryazansky. The reign of Prince Oleg was the era of the greatest power of the Ryazan principality. At those times, Ryazan even rivalled Moscow to be the capital of Russia!
Cathedral Park (‘Soborny Park’ in Russian) is a vast park near the Ryazan Kremlin. It is a pleasant place for walking, with beautiful views of the Ryazan churches, monuments, and the Trubezh River.
Take your time to roam in the park. You will find one of the oldest churches of Ryazan — the church of the Savior on the Yar. ‘Yar’ is a Russian word that means ‘high, precipitous bank’. Indeed, the church stands on a high bank of the Trubezh River. The church of the Savior on the Yar was built in 1695.
Next to the church, there is a monument to prominent Russian poet Sergey Yesenin.
Take time to wander in the Cathedral Park. Many other sights make the park picturesque. For example, there is a small chapel dedicated to the 900th anniversary of Ryazan.
It is the Stele in memory of the Ryazan soldiers who participated in the Patriotic War of 1812.
• Sobornaya Street (Cathedral Street)
Sobornaya Street is the most beautiful street of Ryazan. It goes from Cathedral Square to Lenin Square. You will see a lot of old mansions constructed in the 18-19th century. For example, there is the Gymnasium where Alexander Solzhenitsyn worked as a teacher.
Sobornaya Street ends at Lenin Square. Though Lenin is not worshipped in Russia anymore, many Russian cities and towns still have monuments to Lenin. After the fall of the USSR, local authorities removed the monument to Lenin from the square. But then they thought that Lenin Square would look strange without Lenin. That is why Vladimir Ilych still stands straight on a high pedestal and tries to show us the way to a happy future.
• Lenin Square
Lenin Square is the central square of Ryazan. Before the 20th century, this square was named New Bazar Square (New Market Square). Merchants sold flour, bread and other goods there. Even now, we can see old buildings of the market, so-called Trade Rows. They still sell food, souvenirs, and clothes. On the ground floor of the Trade Rows, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes.
Behind the monument to Lenin, you will see Pochtovaya Street. Let’s explore if something is interesting in that area.
• Pochtovaya Street (Post Street)
Pochtovaya Street is the main tourist street of Ryazan. It was founded in 1780. The street goes between old merchant mansions. Take your time to savour the charming atmosphere of this historical area.
I would say that Pochtovaya is the restaurant street. There are multiple cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to every taste and every budget. I grabbed a cold coffee at the coffee shop ‘Chuvstva’ ( ‘Feelings’ ) (54, Pochtovaya St.). I can honestly say that it was the tastiest cold coffee in my life! It had gone so quickly that I did not even have the time to take a photo of it. Well, not everything in our lives should be photographed.
At the intersection of Pochtovaya and Lenina streets, you will meet Russian hero Evpaty Kolovrat. This legendary Russian bogatyr (knight) protected the Ryazan principality from the army of the Mongol ruler Batu Khan. He was born and lived in Ryazan in the 13th century.
Evpaty Kolovrat sits on a robust horse on the top of a granite pedestal. I had the feeling that the sculptor was inspired by the Bronze Horseman, a monument to Peter the Great in St Petersburg.
• Lybedsky Boulevard
Right next to Pochtovaya street, there is another excellent area for a walk — Lybedsky Boulevard. The boulevard lies in the riverbed of the Lybed River. Nowadays, the river flows through the pipes under the ground. And the riverbed became a green park with sculptures, children playgrounds, fountains, and cafes. If you like to walk, I would advise you to stroll down Lybedsky Boulevard until you reach the large square with the Ryazan Circus.
• Nizhny Garden (The Lower Garden)
Nizhny Garden is a small park in the historical centre of Ryazan. There you will find a sculpture which is a symbol of the city. The name of the monument is funny — Mushrooms with Eyes.
The sculpture relates to the famous Ryazan saying about mushrooms that have eyes. Because of this, it is not easy to collect mushrooms in the Ryzan forests: mushrooms constantly hide and warn their relatives about the approaching mushroom pickers.
As for me, the gem of the Nizhny Garden is the Summer Club of the Nobility Assembly. It is a richly decorated old wooden building with patterned window frames. Before the Revolution of 1917, it was a club for the local nobility. The aristocracy gathered here to discuss current events and relax on pleasant summer evenings with a cup of tea in hand.
• Museums in Ryazan
— Museum of History of Lollipop
The Museum of History of Ryazan Lollipop is the sweetest in the city. The exposition is devoted to the history of the appearance of sugar in Russia, its extraction from plants (cane, white beet) and the production of traditional Russian lollipops — sugar cockerels.
Address: 14/2, Sobornaya St.
— Museum of the History of the Airborne Forces
The Museum of the History of the Airborne Forces is the only museum dedicated to the history of airborne troops in Russia. The exposition includes more than 35 000 historical military objects. You will see various military devices, banners of the airborne divisions that took part in the Great Patriotic War, awards, documents, various photographs, and other interesting things.
Address: 1, General Margelov Square.
— The Pozhalostin State Art Museum
The collection of the Pozhalostin Art Museum includes more than 12,000 works of art from Russia and Western Europe: icons and wooden sculpture, painting, graphics, furniture, porcelain, etc.
Address: 57, Svobody Street.
— Museum-estate of academician Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian and Soviet scientist, physiologist, and vivisector. He was the first Russian scientist to win the Nobel Prize.
Ivan Pavlov spent his childhood and youth in Ryazan. At present, the manor where he lived with his parents and siblings is a museum estate. It includes a wooden 19th-century house, a garden with apple trees, a summer house, and outbuildings.
I highly advise you to visit this museum. Inside the main house, you will see authentic interiors from the 19th century. The house is well-preserved. I daresay that it is a rare example of an old wooden Russian provincial town. We are used to seeing palaces of Russian nobility — but how ordinary people live? You will see it if you visit the Pavlov manor.
Address: 25, Pavlova St.
HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED IN RYAZAN?
Ryazan is a large city and has many attractions. I would advise you to spend at least two days there. First of all, visit the Kremlin and its historical expositions. Those are significant examples of the cultural heritage of Russia.
Take your time to wander in the Ryazan parks and streets. Dine and listen to street musicians at Pochtovaya Street. Do not miss the Pavlov Museum.
If you have more time, think of visiting Konstantinovo in the Ryazan Region. It is a picturesque village that is famous as the birthplace of prominent Russian poet Sergey Esenin.
WHERE TO STAY IN RYAZAN
IMPORTANT : Since March 2022, Booking, Agoda and Hostelworld do not allow booking accommodations in Russia. Instead of them, I recommend you to use Bronevik.com. This service is less known, but it is reliable and has a good selection of accommodations.
Ryazan always welcomes city guests and offers them comfortable accommodations to suit every taste. One night in a hotel will cost you about 2500–3000 Roubles. Hostels cost much cheaper: 1000–1200 Roubles per night.
• Hotels in the city centre
— Ryazan Hotel: situated 15 minutes walk from the Kremlin, Ryazan Hotel offers everything you need for a comfortable stay: clean rooms, comfy beds, tasty breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and other facilities.
— Kremlevsky Park: has an excellent location right next to the Kremlin. Moreover: friendly staff, comfortable rooms and hearty breakfast at a low price.
— Hotel Stary Gorod & SPA: stylish hotel with impeccably clean rooms. The hotel is situated close to the main Ryazan sights and right next to pedestrian streets: Pochtovaya Street and Lybedsky Boulevard. The Kremlin is a 15-minutes walk from the hotel. The name of the hotel means ‘old town’.
• Hostels for budget travellers
— Hostel Calancha is a clean hostel with large rooms and friendly staff. The hostel is situated close to the main attractions of Ryazan, bus stops, and grocery stores.
— Hostel Aison is about 15 minutes walk from the city centre. Clean and tidy rooms, fresh bed linen and towels, the kitchen has everything you may need.
• Living in a Russian fairy tale
— V Nekotorom Tsarstve (In A Certain Kingdom). ‘In a certain kingdom, in a certain state…’ is a traditional beginning of Russian fairy tales. And this Russian-style hotel will indeed bring you to Russian tales. The territory and the rooms are intricately decorated. This large hotel also has a park, a small zoo, a banya and a restaurant.
The hotel is situated in the suburbs of Ryazan, about 15 km from the city. There are so many things to do on the territory of this estate, that you can consider it as a sight to see and to hang out.
WHERE TO EAT IN RYAZAN
• Many restaurants and bars in one place
I remind you that Pochtovaya Street is the restaurant street of Ryazan. Here is just a few of the restaurants and bars that you will find there:
— Cafe-bar Humor Negro (61, Pochtovaya St.) offers everything for having a great meal: salads, cold appetizers, meat and fish, a variety of drinks, desserts and blini.
— Bar Bunker (62, Pochtovaya St.) offers an impressive assortment of drinks: beers, 40 sorts of wine, cocktails, liqueurs and so on. Come there if you want to party at night!
— Bazar (62, Pochtovaya St.) is an Oriental and European cuisine restaurant with a vast summer terrace. Bazar is a bit more expensive than neighbouring restaurants.
— Cream Soda (54, Pochtovaya St.) is a cosy place for coffee lovers. In the evening, they also serve cocktails.
— Dino Is Hungry (58, Pochtovaya St.) is the home of burgers and pizza. But that is not all! Opt for a soup on a cold day or for a fresh salad in the summer.
• Quick and tasty food
— Chaynya (Tea House) of the Museum of the History of the Ryazan Lollipop.
‘Chaynaya’ is a small but cosy cafe next to the museum of lollipops. They offer a variety of tea, coffee and other drinks. Try local speciality — karavaytsy (blini). The original karavaytsy are served with butter. You can also opt for sweet karavaytsy with honey or condensed milk. In case you are not a sweet tooth, choose karavaytsy with salmon, cream cheese or caviar.
Address: 14/2, Sobornaya St.
• A Must
— Tavern Beliy (‘The White Inn’) is a restaurant of Russian cuisine. It existed and was already famous at the Imperial times! Do not miss such Russian delicacies as country salted pork fat, beef Stroganoff and borsch!
Address: 18, Nikolodvoryanskaya St.
AVERAGE PRICES IN RYAZAN
- a hotel room — 35 USD per night; hostel — 12 USD per night
- lunch in a cafe — 5-7 USD
- lunch in a restaurant — 25 USD
- tickets to major museums — 4-5 USD
- a boat trip — 6 USD
- bus ticket — 0.3 USD
- local SIM with 10 Gb of internet and 150 minutes of calls — 3-4 USD
Have you been to Ryazan? What is your opinion about this city?